Fire rated glass units can be used on internal or external screens, glass floors, doors or windows where protection against fire, smoke or toxic gases are required to protect exit ways and compartmentalise fire to reduce spreading.
Numerous areas of Building Regulations as well as local supervisory bodies will determine what fire rating is required depending on the application and type of building.
The fire ratings of glass are indicated in two values of time; one indicating integrity and one insulation. The timings indicate the amount of time the glass is required to insulate and stay standing as an effective fire barrier.
Fire rated glass can come in 30/60/90/120 minute values of integrity or insulation.
These modern fire retardant glass units are made from toughened safety glass with specialised transparent intumescent interlayers. In the event of a fire the toughened glass panels will fracture but the intumescent interlayer reacts and expands like foam to create a fire retardant barrier.
On higher insulating fire rated units the glass also turns translucent in the event of a fire to increase the insulation property of the glass. This clever technique also hides the fire from view to stop panic during escape.
It is possible to include many other aspects of glass into a fire rated assembly such as using fire rated units to create a double or triple glazed unit for external use, the application of solar control coatings as well as the use of switchable privacy glass in screens.
You can use a fire rated glass unit in a fixed screen or opening window or door but fire rated glass units should always be considered as part of a complete fire rated installation which includes the framing, fixings and how the glass is installed. Only specialised fire rated framings can be used in fire rated installations.